Just David by Eleanor H. Porter Book Review

 Just David by Eleanor H. Porter

   From the author who wrote Pollyanna, another beautiful classic. I absolutely loved Just David! 
   Ten year old David has never known his last name or his father's name. As far back as he can remember, he has lived on the mountain in the house with his father and spent his days enjoying nature. So when his father takes him down the mountain on a journey, gives him money, and dies in a stranger's barn in the middle of the night, David is left in the care of the people of the strange town where his father died. He is taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Holly, who are hardworking, no-nonsense people.
   The whole town is astounded with the boy- the boy who doesn't know at all what money or death or hard work is, who knows Latin and French, who can identify every plant and animal in the forest, who is the best violinist they have ever heard, and plays what the world looks like to him. 
   His unheard-of ways, his talent, his determination and ability to see good in every single thing when a normal person could see none, and the mystery behind who his father is, makes him a misfit with the boys his age in the village. Despite all this, with time, his music and his kind heart touch the hardened hearts of the town. 
   I read The Good and the Beautiful version, which is completely clean, but I'm sure the normal version is as well. I thought it would be boring but it was a sweet story and super engaging. Anyone can read it, but it is probably geared toward ten or eleven year olds. Five stars from me! 

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray       
     Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is the historical fiction story of a young Lithuanian girl named Lina living during Stalin and Hitler’s reign. She was taken by the Soviet soldiers in the night, out of her home and out of her normal life, forced to get on a train with no idea where she was going and if she would live. Her mother and younger brother, Jonas, were taken too. Before the train left, she was able to get a glimpse of her father, who had been taken before them, and knew she would probably never see him again.
After six awful weeks in horrible conditions on the train, living like pigs, they arrived in Siberia, where she and her mother and Jonas are forced to work as beet farmers in a work camp. Workers were forced to sign a contract for twenty-five years of living and working there. Food was scarce and barely enough to keep the works alive. Diseases and sicknesses ravaged the camp. The workers lived in ten-by-twelve foot huts with the villagers and were forced to pay them rent, even though they had no money. Stealing was the only way to stay alive, but if they were caught the soldiers would likely shoot them. The NKVD (the Soviet soldiers) beat, starved, tortured, and killed the people without any purpose or a second’s hesitation or reprimand.
  Andrius, a boy Lina’s age, who lived in the same work camp, was able to give Lina information about her father. She learned that her father was living in a prison called Krasnoyarsk, far from where she was.
After months of living at the work camp, Lina’s group was taken to a freezing island, near the North Pole. The living conditions were even worse and many of the people died, including her mother and almost every person she knew from the train, and there she learned of her father’s death in the prison. She and her brother worked in that place for twelve years before they were released.
I loved this book. It was awesome. I loved the main character, Lina, and her mother. It was so interesting, definitely a page-turner, and really informative. Amazingly well written.
Definitely 13+. Andrius’ mother was forced into prostitution to stop the NKVD from shooting her son. This part is not detailed and leaves it very vague, but mentioned multiple times. The NKVD sexually assaulted the women in the work camps, including the main character, slightly detailed, and a worker makes a crude remark about this. There is some swearing. Also, very violent and graphic.

WINNER Of 3 Book Giveaway!


OK, first off, sorry this post is a day late. 
Second, thank you all so much for commenting and sharing! You guys are fantastic. Please make sure to follow our blog, and to come back for future book reviews/giveaways.
All right... the winner is...
Shyla Aaron!
Please email us your address here and we'll get those books to you soon!
Thank you everybody!

A Little House Picture Book Treasury, Adapted from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Little House Picture Book Treasury: Six Stories of Life on the Prairie, Adapted from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Many of the picture books I've been receiving for possible reviews have been...not my favorite. So many of them are based on characters, usually from TV, that I just don't care for. I don't do negative reviews, so many of them just go unreviewed.

When I opened the last box and found this gem, I was thrilled. Now, here are some characters I can really get behind!

I may have actually gasped with delight.

Reading this little treasury to my kids did not disappoint, either. It is living up to my expectations upon seeing the cover, and is quickly becoming a favorite.

The Treasury is a compilation of six little stories from the Little House books. The stories include A Little Prairie House, Going to Town, County Fair, Sugar Snow, Winter Days in the Big Woods, and Christmas in the Big Woods.

The artwork is beautiful and endearing.

You could use it as an early chapter book. As for us, we haven't read it without going all the way through in one sitting...and a couple times I've closed the back cover and been begged to read it all over again...and yes, I obliged.

Our giveaway of this treasure and two others ends tomorrow, so be sure to enter if you haven't yet!!!

The Lifegiving Home by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Clarkson

Friends! The Lifegiving Home by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Clarkson is a beautifully inspiring book for mothers.

Do you want to know how much I love this book? I purchased it on audible, on kindle, and in paperback...and I'm giving it to my sisters for their birthdays. Shhhh!

And...I want to give one to you, too! The publisher didn't send this one to me; I just really want to share it! GO ENTER OUR 3 BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Ok. So, why do I love this book so much? Let me count the ways.

The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming is about making home a place of beauty, a place of discipleship to God, a place of learning, a place of celebration, a place of love.

I highlighted many sections as I read. Sarah Clarkson says, "Home is not merely a dwelling. It's not merely a state of existence. It's a story, a narrative spun out day by day, a story molded by the walls and hours and tasks and feasts with which we fill our time, reflecting the reality of the God whose love animates every aspect of our being."

I love all of the little and bigger ideas they share. As we slowly weave these ideas into our own homes, they become vibrant places where life and love are celebrated. For example, I loved their idea about having a chalkboard on the front porch to welcome guests. I have incorporated this simple idea. In the book, I found this wonderful quote by J. Brillat-Savarin: "To invite someone into your home is to take charge of their happiness for as long as they are under your roof."

In a world in turmoil, both natural and manmade, we may feel that there isn't much hope. This book is full of hope. Mother Teresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family."

Word to the Wise: I enjoyed the whole book. I have, however, heard from a couple people that they didn't love the beginning. It waxes a bit poetic and maybe idealistic at first. BUT, everyone I know that has gotten into the monthly themed chapters has found the book profoundly helpful and even life-changing...or I suppose we could say, lifegiving. :)

A sequel to this book, The Lifegiving Table, is being released tomorrow. As you can imagine, I'm pretty excited about that. It speaks specifically of using our tables for discipleship and discusses how the Savior used food to minister to others.

Oh, and as if I haven't fan-girled enough here, I'm also in love with Sally's podcast. You can find it here.

One more thing. Marlene Peterson, founder of Libraries of Hope, has created a new resource for mothers who want to gather and learn together. Mothers of Influence groups will study A Mother's Influence, the Delphian courses, and The Lifegiving Home. As I learn more about Mothers of Influence, I will share here. It sounds dreamy.

3 BOOK GIVEAWAY - An Unexpected Role, A Little House Picture Book Treasury, and The Lifegiving Home

Hey! We're doing a giveaway of An Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl, A Little House Picture Book Treasury, and The Lifegiving Home.

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win, simply comment on this post (below) and you're done! In your comment, please list a clean, fun book you'd like us to review. You may comment once for one entry. If you'd like a second entry, please share this post and comment with the link.

Commenting will close on October 13th, and the WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON OCTOBER 14th.

Note: It was October 4th and 5th, but we changed it due to lack of comments. Please comment and share!!

See my review of An Unexpected Role here and watch for reviews of A Little House Picture Book Treasury and The Lifegiving Home in the next couple days!

Thanks! :)

An Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl Review + Giveaway

An Unexpected Role by Leslea Wahl

Josie, a clumsy teen and theater nerd, has an abundance of mortifying moments. These moments are unfortunately incorporated into her mother's novels, which are then published for all of her school to see.

Embarrassed and needing to escape, she leaves home to visit her aunt on Coral Island and resolves to spend a perfect summer on the beach where no one she knows can find her. She spends day after day on the beach, becomes best friends with her elderly neighbor, and gets a boyfriend. Everything is going perfectly- until Ryan shows up.

Josie is convinced he is going to ruin her summer. Ryan is a boy from school who seems to follow her everywhere and is annoyingly certain that her boyfriend has something to do with the robberies that are plaguing Coral Island.

As the mystery continues to unfold, tragedy strikes, and Josie must decide if she believes in God, who she stands behind, and who she is.

I loved this book! It was fantastic. Josie was a great character and it was fun to see where the story took her.

Also, we are doing a GIVEAWAY of this book! On the 27th of September, we will put up a post titled "An Unexpected Role Giveaway". If you comment any book you would like us to review on that post, you are automatically entered into the giveaway. The comment section will be closed on the 4th of October and the winner will be announced on the 5th.

One more thing! We are going to be posting a lot more now. If you could email us requests to review a book you like, or if you are an author hoping to get more publicity for your book, that'd be great. Thanks!